KEY POINTS

  • Three of Trump's golf course properties use the presidential seal as tee markers
  • Federal law makes it illegal to manufacture a copy of official seals without authorization from the government
  • The Trump Organization once ordered a large batch of tee markers bearing the official seal

A golf course owned by former President Donald Trump may be violating federal law for using the presidential seal as a tee marker. 

A photo posted on Instagram on Nov. 21 showed what appeared to be the presidential seal set in the grass at the Trump National Golf Club Jupiter in Florida. 

The property could now be the third of Trump’s golf courses in possible violation of federal law. Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx and the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey were also seen using the presidential seal as tee markers.

The federal law bars the use of the seals of the President, Vice President, Senate, House of Representatives and Congress in a way that could give the impressions of government approval. 

The law also makes it illegal to manufacture a copy of the seal without authorization from the U.S. government. People caught violating the federal law may face up to six months in prison.

In August, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a criminal complaint against Trump’s Bedminster golf course for the misuse of the presidential seal. 

“The use of the seal at Bedminster not only helps Donald Trump’s business improperly profit from the prestige of the presidency, it also seems to echo false claims that Trump won the 2020 election, which is dangerous for democracy,” CREW wrote in the complaint. 

The Trump Organization was previously caught by “Trump Inc.,” a podcast from ProPublica and WNYC, ordering a large batch of tee markers bearing the presidential seals in 2018. The markers were manufactured by Lousiville-based metalworking and sign company Eagle Sign and Design.

The Trump Organization later removed the markers. The company also said the markers were presents from a group of Trump supporters to celebrate “Presidents day weekend.”

“The plaques were presented to the club by a small group of members, who are incredible fans of the President, in honor of Presidents day [sic] weekend. They were temporary and have since been removed,” the Trump Organization said in a 2018 statement, according to WNYC Studios.

It is unclear whether Trump will be charged for the misuse of the presidential seal. 

A federal judge ruled that White House records that could implicate former President Donald Trump in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol can be released to a congressional committee investigating the violence Former president Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona one day after the House moved to censure him and strip him of his committee assignments. Photo: AFP / MANDEL NGAN